Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year for a lot of businesses. We might not have even put the pumpkin out for Halloween, but many companies will already have started brainstorming advertising ideas and drawing up marketing plans to cash in on the whopping £2,500 spent per household in December.
It’s probably a while till the first mince pie cravings set in, but planning your festive marketing well in advance will make the whole Christmas rush less stressful and more profitable. Here are some practical ideas and marketing principles that your business can use to give itself a very merry Christmas.
Every good marketing campaign starts with a basic objective. Working out what you’re trying to achieve should be your first step, and that’s often a much harder task than it sounds. Obviously each business will have its own nuanced ambitions, but we see marketing as having 3 potential dominant functions:
For example, people buy wreaths and other decorative greenery throughout December, so a florist might run a sales-centric campaign on platforms like Google Ads in order to market these particular products. On the other hand, a larger company like a shopping centre would want to get their brand out to festive shoppers without necessarily pushing a sales message - check out the story of our campaign with Yorkshire’s Scarborough Group to find out more about effective awareness-raising.
Consider when your audience will be most receptive to your marketing efforts. Despite the town centre lights coming on in early November, nobody really starts prowling the shops in search of turkey until mid-December. On the other hand, you’re unlikely to sell many baubles on Christmas Eve!
Understanding when customers will want to hear about your Christmas offers will help you start your campaign at the right time. Come up with a timeline of key dates and opportunities from approximately November to January, decide the appropriate point at which to launch your efforts, then sketch out how you’ll stagger your communications from there.
Now that you know who you’re appealing to, and when, it’s time to decide what you want to say to them. Your message must be tailored carefully to what your target audience will want to hear. You have to demonstrate what value you can offer them and why you’re different from other companies offering the same thing.
It’s not just enough to tell your customers why you’re the best in the biz; they need to know what they should do once they’ve heard about you. Always include clear calls to action at every stage, even if just a simple ‘visit our store today’ button leading to a map with your location clearly marked.
Your website is a crucial ingredient in all 3 marketing objectives, and should take up your attention long before you turn to other platforms. Do you want to go all out on the Christmas cheer, or would something subtler be more your style? If the former, then seek out some festive pictures and graphics to decorate your site with from mid-to-late November onwards.
We can’t stress this enough - all information about your business on your site must be up to date, accurate, concise and easy to find. Potential Christmas shoppers won’t appreciate having to parse endless text to find out the basics of your business, and if you’re trying to direct them to an old address or haven’t updated your opening hours, you can most certainly consider those customers lost.
To find out more about making your website shine for visitors, have a look at our checklist of the features it absolutely needs.
People will discover your business through any combination of a multitude of online channels, from social media to display ads, long before they even consider buying. They’ll then interact with you on their journey towards a purchase in a variety of ways (almost certainly hinging around your website).
One particularly effective channel for first making people aware of your business is video advertising. 81% of the time, if a video’s playing it will get all (or most) of people’s attention. Click here to learn more about how your business can feature in a video ad campaign that will make local customers sit up and take notice.
Unless this is your first marketing campaign, you’ll hopefully have some kind of record of what’s worked in your previous efforts. Take a look back at that information to get an idea of which channels engaged customers the most, and put them at the core of your Christmas marketing plan this time around.
You’ll need to adapt your overarching marketing message to suit the particularities of each individual channel, and then interlink them in a consistent and seamless fashion. How you do that is up to you, but why not read our more in-depth explainer on how you can use multi-channel marketing to increase your sales opportunities?
As most marketers will tell you (at length), content is the beating heart of marketing. Giving people informative things to read and watch that serve a clear purpose in their lives is a far more effective way of winning their custom than a transparent sales pitch.
If you have a keyboard and an internet connection, you’re all set to publish content that will find a new audience and help your business stand out.
The fact that we’ve written this article should give you a hint that we’re big fans of producing seasonal content, centred around significant dates in the calendar.
Christmas is a pretty versatile hook for you to write around, so try and brainstorm some Christmas-centric content ideas that get across your business’s particular identity, offer credible solutions to your target audience’s most relevant issues at Christmastime, and indicate the value you could provide them in the long-term.
The festive period is your chance to really make headway, whatever product or service you sell. Starting to plan your Christmas marketing with these ideas will help you actually enjoy the festive season as it comes around, safe in the knowledge that you’ve got a winning campaign up your sleeve.
Your business needs an experienced partner to carry your message through the festive season and into the New Year. Find out more about JPIMedia’s Christmas advertising services here.
For more advice and tips on putting together a marketing strategy, download our dedicated marketing planning guide.